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Cough suppressants

also referred to as:
Antitussives; Cough suppressants; cough suppressants

The following active ingredients are assigned to the active ingredient group "cough suppressants"

Areas of application for this group of active ingredients

Cough suppressants relieve excessive coughing. It is not only important to dampen your cough for a good night's sleep. A strong cough can lead to pain in the chest or throat, fainting, shortness of breath, cardiac arrhythmias, headaches, broken ribs or temporary urinary incontinence.

Cough suppressants are often used for dry (mucus-free) irritable coughs, a typical symptom of colds. But there are also diseases that are permanently accompanied by a dry cough. These conditions include bronchial asthma or cancers of the lungs.

Cough suppressants can make it difficult to identify conditions such as asthma or lung cancer because they suppress the warning symptom of coughing. Therefore, cough suppressants should never be taken uncritically over a long period of time. As a rule of thumb: Any cough lasting more than 14 days requires a medical examination.

This is how cough suppressants work

Cough suppressants can work in different places:
  • in the cough center of the brain
  • on the mucous membrane of the bronchi and lungs
  • on the intermediate nerve tracts (between the cough center and the lungs).
Agents that work in the cough center are the three chemically related active ingredients codeine, dihydrocodeine and hydrocodone. The cough suppressant effect of hydrocodone is stronger than that of codeine. However, taking these active ingredients can lead to addiction. You are therefore only required to have a prescription. For hydrocodone, the doctor even has to write a narcotic prescription.

The active ingredients noscapine and dextromethorphan are also centrally effective cough suppressants. However, taking them does not cause addiction. Therefore, these active ingredients are available without a prescription.

Active ingredients such as dropropizine unfold their effect directly on the mucous membranes of the lungs and bronchi. Herbal active ingredients such as Icelandic dry moss extract can also be assigned to this group. They relieve the cough by putting a protective film over the mucous membranes.

The active ingredient pentoxyverine dampens coughs both via the cough center (central effect) and directly in the lungs.

Benproperin works on the intermediate nerve tracts. In contrast to the centrally acting cough suppressants, this active ingredient stimulates breathing. Therefore, it can also be used with disturbed breathing such as in asthma.

The selection of the suitable cough suppressant should always be based on concomitant diseases first. In many diseases such as asthma, for example, the ingestion of active ingredients that dampen the cough center is not allowed. Regardless of this, herbal active ingredients should always be preferred due to their tolerability. However, their potency is limited. If a quicker and more reliable cough suppressant effect is important, active ingredients such as benproperine and pentoxyverine are recommended. The strongest effects of all cough suppressants have the prescription drugs that suppress the cough center.